It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.



Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Flag On the Ceiling and a Promise Kept

I made a promise a moment ago to a new friend, A_Joyful_Chaos, (a blog well worth the read for sure) that I would attend to an award she bestowed upon me over a week ago. And even though the pumpkin patch is growing hotter by the moment I am going to take care of this before heading out.

I'm not sure exactly what the award was for, she had lots she was distributing, something about Memes I believe which I find ironic since I can never quite do them like you Dear Reader, "just answer the question and get on with it." I suffer verbosity. Arencha glad I've been taking a writing break and Dirt has kept me busy outside beyond the reach of the thingy that makes the internet work on my laptop, oh ya, router?

So for this award, which I will not be passing on because sure as shoot my brain will explode trying to decide to whom it should go, (Decisions, not a strong point in my life, the root of all my shortcomings I am sure. A yakky un-decider, if that is not crippling and deserving of sympathy and donations I don't know what is.) I need to tell you seven things you do not already know about me.

What the heck could that possibly be? Well I realized that this post that I started on the Fourth as a little of my experience with the Flag Code of the United States would be perfect. So here goes, you keep track of the number of things you didn't know about me on your fingers and when you get to seven I ought to be done and out cutting weeds (pulling them disturbs the roots and checks the growth of the desired plant, check it out, it is factual and scriptural, imagine that Dear Reader).


This fine couple are my folks, Bethel Jean (Pape) Barker, and Eldon Ray Barker. This must be some where around nineteen-seventy two. My dad always had that white patch of hair right there, a second pupil in one eye, enormous hands that were permanently rough and stained, and when he wore jeans they always had a cuff in them, but mostly he wore work pants.

I am an orphan now, my father died two weeks after my first baby was born and my mom died the year my last baby turned one, my baby is turning sixteen soon. I miss both my parents as if it were yesterday.


They were the tried yet patient parents of these three, the youngest of six. My brother Mike, six years older than myself, my brother Chris, the one with a clam part hanging from his mouth, is only two and a half years older than myself.


And me? Yes, I'd be the one in the lovely purple print overalls, whacked out hair from being in pony tails or clips and the giant loud laughing face! I remember those blue tenny shoes and the day I finally, with inner pride, wore a hole in the toe much to my momma's chagrin. This picture was most likely the summer of nineteen-seventy.
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It was a rough time, not financially, but our consciences were being tried. And I didn't fair too well. But that is another story or confession and testimony of God's infinite mercy and grace that I hope Dear Reader, you have come to know for your own.
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Today it would be enough to say that these three youngest experienced the turmoil of the ages with a mild buffer of protection from their father.
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Erb, was a man of conviction. He knew hard work was the only way to go. That our country is a great country no matter what. That all people deserve respect, unless they are purposely pusillanimous (Erb's favorite pejorative) then a person was pretty much dismissed and ignored, one of the many traits Dirt shares with my dad and most likely why I love him too.
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He taught us to think for ourselves, work hard and honestly for others, and respect all people, moms first. He did not mind our questioning the way things were as long as in the questioning we were not just idly grousing.
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And he let us know that it was a rarity in this world to be able to question what was going on and therefore, even if we were unhappy with what was going on in our country, what our leaders were saying or doing, that it was an immense privilege to live here and be able to express it. However, for Erb, and therefore for his children, there were correct ways to express it and incorrect ways to express it. He taught us indirectly that it was truly, and without a sneer or a self-centered belligerent arrogance, "Our country, right or wrong," because we were to always be working as true citizens toward the goal of, "Our country, may she always be right."
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We were never to disrespect any one in uniform.
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We were never to disrespect an elected official. Express our disagreement yes, but never to shame or disgrace ourselves by attempting to belittle or make the person appear comical.
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We were to respect the work of others that had gone before us, whether we thought it correct or not. Respect did not always mean agree or accept.
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We were to respect the symbol of our county.
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I may have taken the risk of getting caught smoking but no matter what things I dared to light up one of them was definitely not the flag.
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But the nuances of the Flag Code that my father so clearly knew inside and out, from where I won't ever know now, were a little more tricky. It was certainly made clear that it was better not to hang the flag if you were not going to make sure that in the putting up and the taking down you were incapable of making sure it wouldn't touch the ground or be tangled. But then there were the things I slowly learned and picked up such as, that while red, white and blue tablecloths and apparel were okay, things that looked more like the flag than not were not okay to be used as table coverings or clothes.
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But one incident that has stuck in my mind was when he found that my brothers had put a flag up on their ceiling over the center light fixture. He was visibly upset. I didn't quite understand, because I thought he would be happy to know that my brothers admired the flag so much as to hang it in their room, in spite of their lengthening hair and constantly verbalized disdain for the current leadership.
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I tucked into the flag corner of my brain that clearly there was a right way and a very wrong way to display one's patriotism by how you displayed the flag.
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It wasn't until just recently when I did a post on the flag for Flag Day and received some stern comments, that I researched more thoroughly what I had always just assumed. Even in this day of technological finger-tip information there are a lot of places where you can get misinformation not because they say the wrong thing but from what they leave out.
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Imagine my not-really-surprised surprise that in the actual flag code it really does say that the flag or any likeness that people see as the flag is not to be hung on a ceiling.
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So much for my rebel brothers asserting their patriotism with thumb tacking the flag to their bedroom ceiling.
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This flag code thing has me turning into a rather self-appointed American Flag police. I've pointed out paper plates and napkins in violation and in fair turn pointed out the ones that would be okay, in the middle of the store of course, rather noticably like any good embarrassing parent would. I've tisked-tisked a business community's over zealous and incorrect placement of flags. I am well aware of the obnoxiousness of my insistances, but remember, I'm a youngest of six, it is my duty to be obnoxious and annoying.
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In a week or two or maybe a year, my family and friends will assume I have calmed down a bit, but beware, I will always be on the look out for a violation of the code, especially in those I know now know.
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I know, Dear Reader, if you know me just a little you know I break laws all the time, my children are illegally home with me (yet another post for another day) and I have pushed the legal envelope in the past by letting people take milk from my outdoor refrigerator. So all of this "letter of the code" seems a bit much for me to you I am sure. And someday after my weeds are cut I will attempt to explain my seemingly idiosyncratic stances on things, for it all works out quite logically in my mind. But for now I really must go as I have one hour and ten minutes before the melting point is reached out in the patch where I have about six hours and forty-three minutes of work to do.
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I am postitive Dear Reader, that all of you, even the ones that have known me for years and years, clicked off seven fingers worth of things you didn't know of me already, and those of you that didn't know me all that well, put your shoes back on and the baby's too I'm heading out to quietly contemplate my Savior, I am thankful He is infinite in everything He is. And I am very glad that my salvation, and therefore my eternity, does not depend on legalistic things, like the US Code.


This was a note on my side board this summer that I thought I would save into this article:

Check out:US_Code_Title_Four_Chapter_One.

You can also go here to the US House site of the US Code and read all of the Historical and Revision Notes, Codifications, Amendments, Findings and Reaffirmations of Language.

We have humbly learned a lot so far, there are a lot of things this family has done incorrectly in regards to the flag and its code, (and a few things we have done correctly). I hope you will enjoy our summer long study of the flag! Look for some intesting and somewhat humorous posts about our on going study.

2 comments:

Tipper said...

Lanny-I really enjoyed this post. And I learned more than 7 things about you : ) I'm sorry your an orphan now-I can sure imagine no matter how many years go by-you still miss them something fierce.

Daisy said...

I liked reading about your family, Lanny. I liked your purple print overalls too! HA! Great pictures. I wasn't counting, but I'm sure I must have learned at least 7 things about you from that. :)